Friday, January 7, 2011

Red Shoes






 Red Shoes 

A Rondel


She danced through the night. Her shoes were red.
She rang her bell of tulle and ribbons, dress of dreams.
The master cued her moves and sewed her seams
and made her body over like a doll’s without a head.

He choreographed her pas de deux, a masque of the dead.
She must be only air, her bones hollow as moonbeams.
She danced through the night. Her shoes were red,
stiff her bell of tulle and ribbons, dress of dreams,

She danced through the night. Her shoes were red,
though cream when she began the final themes.
She rang her bell of tulle and ribbons, dress of dreams.
Violins bowed the razor while she bled.
She danced through the night, her shoes were red.


January 2011




Red Shoes Photo by Lara Hartley, courtesy google image search


This was written for Annell Livingston and her Red Shoes Project

Also posted for the One Shoot Sunday photo prompt, which was this picture by KJ Halliday:


32 comments:

  1. The Red Shoes was always a favorite fairy tale of mine. I especially love "She must be only air, her bones as hollow as moonbeams" and "violins bowed the razor while she bled", as she did, of course, in the famous story.

    I love how you keep trying these different forms, and doing so well with them. I am still agog over your sestina. Yer goooood! :-)

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  2. I like this. I get the sense of manipulation by the "dance master." and the masked dance she must perform to make him happy.

    It fits the form of a Rondel as defined well but the one question I have is the second verse -- why "stiff her bell" in place of the she rang her...

    Just curious.

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  3. A wonderful poem with verses of ponder, to wonder of dance, and it's magical themes!

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

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  4. marvelous dancing rhythm to go with those red shoes.

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  5. Wonderful! Wonderful! Thank you so much for your Red Shoes! I love it!

    And what an image! Was that barbed wire?

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  6. I'm thinkin' she is the striker, dancing, and she is encased in her stiff bell of tulle and ribbons.

    --Miss Buttinski

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  7. @walking man Thanks. "Stiff her bell" is an attempt to do 2 things, one, what Fireblossom as usual aptly expresses--give the image of a stiff bell-shaped skirt that swings like a bell against the dancer's legs to ring(they actually are stiffened,) and 2, continue increasing the tension and sense that things are awry with the dress of dreams. I did take a small liberty with the form by changing the line. Do you think this idea would be clearer by adding a modifying verb like 'stiff was her etc?" I was trying to be minimal. Thanks for your feedback in advance.

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  8. @annell So glad it worked out for you. Best of luck with the red shoes project.
    @FB : Thanks for the comments and please feel free to butt in anytime and run your mouth. I always do.
    And thanks to lime, I love your site.

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  9. I love this! It's creepy.

    Oh, and I wouldn't change the line. To me, "stiff was" creates more of an image of starchy princess perfection. "Stiff her bell" conveys an impression of imprisonment.

    For whatever that's worth . . .

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  10. @MZ Thanks. It's so hard sometimes to see what you write the way other people do. Appreciate the feedback always.

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  11. Wow! This is freaking great!

    I am usually skeptical of rhyming poetry, but you are a master at it, and it's a real treat to witness your talent. That violins line, and others are really stellar.

    You got it going on, Girl!!

    Thank you.

    Oh, and my word verification is dupere, meaning in French of course, "of the father". How cool! Did you get your poetry genes from your dad? I did!

    xoxo

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  12. @Jannie I wouldn't blame my poetry on anyone else. ;) Thanks for the kind words--your 'typos' and word plays are masterly, always crack me up.

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  13. There is such a lyrical quality to this...and an old-world feeling that put me in mind of minstrels and mandolins...

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  14. A wonderful poem! I am in the "stiff her bell" group, it does carry the sense of being imprisoned very well.What a rich read this morning. I love the repeated lines and the subtle changes as the tale progresses. The violin line is nothing short of brilliant.

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  15. You ardent students of poetry do some fine analysis. I am just a simple everyman who knows what art he likes and what he can pass on. This has feeling, emotion and vivid imagery. Rondel? Jeez, now I have to look something up.

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  16. For nearly all of their adult lives Robert Frost and Carl Sandburg were at odds about poetry both in form and function. Frost would have said because of the change and the separation between the third and fifth line in the final quintain it is not a Rondel and Sandburg would have said you know the rules of the Rondel so you have earned the right to bend the poem to your own will. There was real animus between the two contemporaries. But then as far as I know Frost never wrote in the more non-English founded ancient styles either and Sandburg was an ardent free verse poet in tune with the likes of his predecessor Stephen Crane.

    I was simply curious is all. To answer your question about a modifier no I would leave it be. You may see it different in a few days or months or years, edit it then, if you think it needs it, but for now it builds up to the fourth line in the final quintain quite nicely. I personally saw much pain and manipulation especially in the line "made her body over like a doll’s without a head." Those nine words speak volumes.

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  17. Joy,

    The line repetitions demanded by the form give this an obsessive quality that fits the discipline of the dance images.

    I've held back for some time from taking on prescribed forms. As a rule, for me, they're constraining, a bit too artificial, too much simply a puzzle to 'solve'.

    But they provide 'music points' and anyone who can match image and idea to the music has a nice package.

    Yours does.

    TFool

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  18. Thanks, everyone, for the feedback. I appreciate it.

    @MM--Hey, you getting something from it is what it's all about. It doesn't matter if the form is perfect if the poem sucks. Just ignore the rank wonkery on my part. ;-) Many thanks.

    @twm: Thanks for the input, seriously. I can now see where I played fast and loose with the form, albeit unintentionally. I've shot you a more detailed email.

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  19. @Trulyfool Yes, I drew a complete blank at first on the subject when Annell asked me to write something, and then I thought I'd try using a structure that reflected the intense discipline of ballet. The form actually helped shape the poem in this instance.

    But I agree, form alone is just an artificial construct; there has to be something inside the framework other than a nicely ordered bunch of words to make it something besides an intellectual exercise.

    Thanks for your comments and insight.

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  20. red shoes have something magical about them..so has your poem.. i like the dreamy feeling you create with your words..and e-mail to follow regarding a second thought..

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  21. Thanks, Claudia. looking forward to it.

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  22. Apologies to those of you from One Shoot who've already read this; the picture just seemed to convey a lot of the same feelings to me.

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  23. Interesting how the shoes are on the fence while "violins bowed the razor while she bled," what cutting sadness. The rondel form was an excellent choice to use, reads like the twirls in a dance amid the tension of memory and desire. Amazing use of form to enhance the overall concept.

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  24. I like the rondel form for this one, too...like a ballerina twirling, so light and airy...

    yet those grounding lines such as "He choreographed her pas de deux, a masque of the dead" and "Violins bowed the razor while she bled" are like a dancer's feet hitting the floor briefly and then back up she is as in "ballon" (A dancer is said to have ballon if (s)he seems to be in the air constantly with only momentary contact with the floor)

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  25. Sheila's right the rondel kept tworling the repetitions around just like a dancers movements. Light but thoughtful, as if every move us watched and choreographed for her. Very nice take ;)

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  26. I really enjoyed the structure and repetition of this poem, and am now deeply interested in the fairytale as I've never heard of it before. Really good share - am still holding the lingering image of a poor ballerina in her red shoes into my mind.

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  27. Stunning; you really capitalize on the potency of color with this one - linking it in with dance was a relation that works all too well here. The lightness that comes from the flow and movement of the piece is contrasted delicately by the heavy, tragic meanings and visuals lurking behind the words. The piece has rhythm, and brims with emotion. Well-suited to both pictures, a fine piece to put forward to the task.

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  28. I love the rondel form, and you have taken us on an imaginative journey, inspired by the surreal photo prompt. Quite glorious.

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  29. A painful dance - you paint the scene so well.
    thanks for the One Shoot

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  30. Terrific poem! Each line rings with the multi-dimensions of a world you recreated out of that painful fairy tale. I love how you introduced a "master" that cued not her moves but her death! And the way she started out her dance with lighter (purer?) shoes, later soaked with blood as she danced through her dreams, far into the night of dark worlds that asked of her to spill out her passions (her blood), to her death--the doll transmogrified into a woman lured by a master of the night.

    Your mastery of this form awes me no end, too! And the more I read your poetry, the more I'm amazed. Thanks, Joy!

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  31. Thanks so much to all. Alegria, Shan, Chris, Adam, everyone, you know I enjoyed so much your own takes on this prompt. I fudged a bit with this one but for me the red wash and the lonely figure in the prompt pic, maybe because I had spent so much time with the red images in this poem, really seemed full of the same despair.

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg